Point of Exchange

Retail-only models have caused town centres across the UK to decline over time - Ashton-Under-Lyne is yet another example. The rise in shop closures, particularly of retail chains, has led the once thriving market town into decline - the town centre & its community are now left neglected. Ashton sits within the borough of Tameside and is located east of Manchester City Centre. Ashton is my hometown and being part of its successful cultural history, I feel compassionate about its social, cultural and economic decline. Therefore Point of Exchange is a project that rethinks how we can reuse our existing infrastructure to recreate an active place of exchange - a place where our communities can truly thrive.

The town centre once played host to congregation & interaction  - a place for exchange between people, communities, traders & authorities. However, in undertaking a social deprivation study of Ashton, the study revealed how socially & economically unsupported the community is. Therefore, feminist policy-making is an intersectional process of this project that puts local people, communities, traders & authorities of Ashton at the core of the design. The individuality of each feminist actor ensured social, cultural & political exchanges were the catalysts in reusing underutilised spaces to support community needs, celebration & enterprise. The political agenda of this project reclaims the underutilised & neglected spaces of the Arcade Shopping Centre, Ashton Town Hall & Market Square through the transferring of ownership to the Market Quarter Community Benefit Society - this shifted the role of Ashton from political to social. Reuse, mix-use and feminist technology are the drivers of the Point of Exchange project -they reactivate & reinvigorate a declining town centre into a vibrant, resilient & equitable place of exchange – a Market Quarter now with its own local identity, belonging & pride.